Food Stamp Program

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  • The shutdown also will compromise a range of incentive programs that have emerged over the past decade to improve low-income shoppers' access to healthful food. Nonprofit groups, such as Wholesome Wave and the Fair Food Network, and a $100 million U.S. Department of Agriculture program, the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive, match or supplement SNAP benefits at farmers markets.
  • As many as 7.5 million more food stamp recipients could be subject to work requirements.
  • The move is part of a radical pitch to overhaul the federal bureaucracy.
  • When Milwaukee resident Linda Hopgood found out last summer she was about to lose her food stamp benefits, she immediately started looking for work. But she said she quickly became discouraged by employers telling her she did not have the skills they were looking for.
  • The good news keeps on coming: In farmers markets across the country, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit redemptions (aka food stamps) generated $18.8 million in the 2014 fiscal year – “a nearly six-fold increase since 2008,” the United States Department of Agriculture reports.
  • Bent on making fresh fruits and vegetables available to more Americans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent one of its top officials Thursday to the Clark Park Farmers Market to tout its efforts at doing just that. "We're trying to nudge low-income households to eat more nutritious foods," U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon said in an interview before talking to the merchants and shoppers about ways to get more healthy foods in their diets. Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20150626_USDA_working_to_increase_low-income_families__access_to_healthier_foods.html#HRrp0bPXBhjh67oO.99
  • In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in households struggling with hunger, a stark number which includes 15.8 million children and 4.8 million seniors. Food insecurity is a daily reality for about one in seven households. So why do we only seem to talk passionately about it when a celebrity is involved? If you paid any attention to the recent controversy surrounding Gwyneth Paltrow's $29 SNAP grocery shopping challenge, you know what I mean.
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation website provides in-depth information on key health policy issues including Medicaid, Medicare, health reform, global health, HIV/AIDS, health insurance, the uninsured and much more.
  • In 1988, Ronald Reagan traveled to the Soviet Union and gave a speech at Moscow State University, making the case for capitalism. America’s secret, he argued, was its entrepreneurs, whose “courage to take risks” was responsible “for almost all the economic growth in the United States” and much of its technological edge. This risk-taking was made possible, he continued, by economic freedom, which he associated with “limited, unintrusive” government. Reagan was right about the link between startups and growth, but wrong in assuming that small government was the way to encourage them. His belief in a tradeoff between taking care of citizens and promoting innovative new businesses is at odds with the evidence.
  • The Obama administration announced on Friday that it would give $200 million to 10 states for pilot projects to help food stamp recipients find jobs, part of a larger effort to reduce the rolls of a program that provides assistance to nearly 50 million Americans. The projects include skills training, work-based learning and support services like transportation and child care. In Vermont, which will receive $8.9 million, the program will also focus on hard-to-serve populations like the homeless, ex-offenders and people with addictions.
  • When it comes to the food stamps — or SNAP benefits as they're now called — there are few areas where Republicans and Democrats agree. But getting some of the 46 million people now receiving SNAP into the work force is one of them. Last year Congress approved $200 million for states to test the best way to move people into jobs. And today, the Obama administration is announcing grants to 10 states to do just that. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the demonstration projects should help able-bodied recipients take advantage of an improving economy.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture announced on Friday the recipients of $200 million in grants for projects aimed at getting recipients of SNAP benefits jobs — or, in some cases, better jobs. Grant recipients in 10 states — California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington — will kick off the three-year pilot projects by October, using funds authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Since slightly less than two-thirds of the people who get food stamps are either kids, senior citizens or disabled adults, these programs are targeting a relatively narrow slice of the SNAP benefit-receiving population.
  • Only four U.S. metros have a higher percentage of households on food stamps than San Antonio. On the whole, the number of Texans receiving aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, has grown to 1.3 million in 2013, according to data released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday. In the Houston metro area, 12.7 percent of households received food stamps in 2013. The number rose 0.1 percentage points from the previous year, but still falls below the national average of 13.5 percent.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide more than $27 million to states and tribal nations to reduce child hunger, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Monday. Nevada, Kentucky, Virginia and two tribal nations will receive funding, with money going to programs like the Virginia Hunger-Free Kids Act Demonstration Project — a state initiative that will provide children in areas of high food insecurity with three school meals a day and additional food for nonschool days. The USDA was able to issue these grants because of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), a 2010 piece of legislation championed by first lady Michelle Obama.
  • Feederal food stamp caseloads dropped 11 percent last year as the economy continued to improve. But some GOP lawmakers see the potential for further cuts to the $74 billion program, which has increased more than 45 percent since President Obama was sworn in. The House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday kicked off a series of fact-finding hearings on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The committee’s new chair, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), said, “We have seen the overall unemployment rate fall, yet the number of long-term unemployed remains high.”
  • USDA's Food and Nutrition Service will join Alabama State Agencies for Agriculture and MarketLink to host Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Merchant Sign-up Day. State and Agriculture departments are teaming up to increase SNAP recipients access to fresh farmer markets and products. Grants are available for free wireless Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) equipment and internet access. SNAP sign-up day will provide a one-stop-shop to help direct marketing farmers get authorized and receive additional support for incentive programs to help generate more SNAP customers.
  • Food stamps. Unemployment benefits. Social security. Earned income tax credits. Do these social welfare programs work? Yes, according to a new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Safety nets like food stamps prevent millions more people from struggling to put food on the table, says Jake Grovum, who analyzed the data for the Pew Charitable Trusts.
  • The federal government is about to put $100 million behind a simple idea: doubling the value of SNAP benefits — what used to be called food stamps — when people use them to buy local fruits and vegetables. This idea did not start on Capitol Hill. It began as a local innovation at a few farmers' markets. But it proved remarkably popular and spread across the country.
  • Last winter a delegation of high-profile nutritionists made the rounds of D.C. lawmakers to discuss ways to improve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps. One of their proposals: Could SNAP explore limiting the types of food that recipients can buy with their federal benefits? A state or city might ban chips or cookies, or, as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed in 2010, soda and other sugary beverages. Such a move could nudge food stamp recipients toward healthier choices, and in any case, the federal government should not be subsidizing junk food. A decent suggestion, worthy of debate, right? Legislators’ response was uniformly supportive, recalls Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University.